For the eighth straight year, Thanksgiving will feature a night game. In 2013, two rivals will finish the day’s action as the Pittsburgh Steelers visit the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.
The two teams enter Week 13 very evenly matched. They are tied with a 5-6 record, as both vie for a playoff spot. In their one meeting this season, the Steelers eked out a three-point victory. However, history would indicate that the contest won’t be a close one. The other seven Thursday night games on the holiday have been decided by an average of 20 points per game. None were within one score.
When the Steelers beat the Ravens a little over a month ago, they won with a dominant run game. Joe Flacco threw for 215 yards, compared to 160 for Ben Roethlisberger. Led by Le’Veon Bell, though, Pittsburgh ran for 141 yards. Ray Rice struggled, amassing just 45 yards on 15 attempts.
The entire 2013 season has been a difficult one for Rice. He ran for at least 1,143 yards in each of the past four years. He may not come close to that mark this season, considering he’s totaled only 450 yards on the ground with five games left. Two weeks ago he showed signs of life, picking up 131 yards against the Chicago Bears. It was his only 100-yard performance of the year.
Despite his down season, the Steelers aren’t taking Rice lightly.
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“Ray Rice is one of best backs who ever played,” defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said via the Tribune-Review. “As long as he is in there, they're going to have a good one in the run game.”
Player To Watch: Ray Rice
TIME: 8:25 p.m. Thursday
PLACE: M&T Bank Stadium
Online Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
Updated Betting Odds: Ravens by 3
Prediction: Ravens over Steelers, 23-20